A water park comparison guide for the water park headquarters of the USA – The Poconos! Here we constructed tables comparing the 3 indoor water parks located in the Poconos, Pennsylvania. We compare the size of the waterparks, number of restaurants, room pricing, hours of operation, activities offered & many other aspects. We put together this side-by-side comparison of Kalahari, Camelback’s Aquatopia & Great Wolf Lodge to help you choose the right resort or water park for your family vacation!
|Our Conclusions||Food & Drink|
|Resort Specs||Extra Features|
|Hours of Operation||Sample Pricing|
|Cancellation Policies||Parking & Resort |
The Poconos Water Park Comparison Guide!
The best water park will depend on your family, age of your kids and what you are looking for in a resort experience.
=> Great Wolf Lodge: Great Wolf Lodge is the BEST water park & resort for a very kid-centric experience from top to bottom. Great Wolf Lodge is the best water park for younger kids & toddlers – because it has the most charm and does a better job of “theme – ing” with it’s characters throughout the entire experience (lodging, dining & waterpark) compared to either Aquatopia or Kalahari. The kids really enjoyed the cabin themed suite – which was adorned with a lot of cute character images. They also enjoyed the interaction with the characters and the Wiley & Friends video stories that can find on one of the dedicated TV channels. It is the smallest of the 3 indoor waterparks in the Poconos, Pennsylvania.
==> Kalahari: Kalahari is the BEST water park & resort for families looking for a balance between kid activities and adult luxuries on vacation. For families with teenagers – this is the best water park for you. Kalahari is the biggest of the 3 water parks and has a wider range of offerings that will appeal to both adults & children. At times Kalahari actually felt a little too big for us (both the resort & the water park). But having a wide variety of restaurants and foods was great! Likewise – the lobby is magnificent! Kalahari has the largest indoor waterpark of the 3, and is the largest resort located in the Poconos.
===> Aquatopia: Aquatopia / Camelback Resort is the BEST water park & resort for families who are ready for a slightly larger water park than Great Wolf Lodge has to offer, want more kids’ activities and are be interested in more outdoor activities. Camelback Resort & Aquatopia are somewhere right in-between Kalahari & Great Wolf Lodge by almost every measure! It is in the middle in terms of the size of it’s indoor waterpark and in number of rooms at the resort. The fact that Camelback ALSO has the Mountain Resort (skiing, tubing, etc), the outdoor water park (Camelbeach) and it’s nightime illumination make it unique. Camelback’s Aquatopia seems to strike a particularly good balance for children in the 10 + age group and is the best water park for pre-teens and early teens.
Great Wolf Lodge
|# Indoor Water Slides||6 big ones + Fort Mackenzie slides (medium sized) 14 Total||15 big ones + Splashdown Safari Slides (medium sized)||8 big ones + Kartrite’s Quest slides (medium sized)|
|# Outdoor Water Slide||0||0||9 big ones|
|# of Rooms||401||977||453|
|Most Recent Room Renovation||2019||2015||2015|
|Conference Room Space||1 meeting room (1450 sq.ft.)||35 meeting rooms (205,000 sq.ft. total)||4 breakout rooms (20,000 sq.ft. total)|
|Number of Ballrooms||0||4||1|
|Ballroom Size||none||38,000, 25,000, 12,000, and 9,000 sq.ft||7,450 sq.ft.–flexible air-wall system allows it to be divided into different sizes|
Resort Hours of Operation
|Hours of Operation||Great Wolf Lodge||Kalahari||Aquatopia|
|Waterpark Hours||10:00-8:00 DAILY||SUNDAY – THURSDAY: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM (opening 9:30 AM for Resort Guests)|
FRIDAY & SATURDAY: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (opening 9:30 AM for Resort Guests)
|SUNDAY- THURSDAY: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM|
FRIDAY & SATURDAY: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Resort Food & Drink Options
|Great Wolf Lodge||Kalahari||Aquatopia|
|FOOD & DRINK|
|Coffee Shop||Dunkin Donuts||Java Manjaro (featuring Starbucks coffee)||World Bazaar Coffee Shop (serving Green Mountain coffee)|
|Buffet||The Loose Moose Family Kitchen||Great Karoo Marketplace Buffet||Hemispheres|
|Sweets||*Buckets Incredible Craveables|
*Ben & Jerry’s
|The Last Bite||Sweet Discovery|
|Swim-up Bar||none||*The Thirsty Turtle|
|Bar and Grill||*Grizzly Jack’s Bar and Grill|
*Grizzly Rob’s Bar
|*B-Lux Grill and Bar|
*Double Cut Charcoal Grill/Liquor Bar
|*Trails End Pub and Grille|
*Kartrite’s Summit House
|*Hungry as a Wolf|
*Buckets Incredible Craveables
|*Cafe Mirage *Pizza Pub||Graffiti Pizza|
|Italian Restaurant||none||Sortino’s Italian Kitchen||Berrelli’s Family Style Italian|
Resort – Extra Features
|Great Wolf Lodge||Kalahari||Aquatopia|
|Nighttime Illumination Effect||None||None||Yes–illuminated at night, but gently, to make the waterpark feel like evening|
|Miniature Golf||Howl at the Moon Glow Golf||*Blacklight Mini Golf|
*Legends of the Lost Jungle Mini Golf
|Bowling||Ten Paw Alley||Mini bowling||Stone Rollers|
|Ropes Course||Howlers Peak (outdoor)||Gorilla Grove Treetop Adventures (outdoor)||*K2 Climb (indoor)|
*Treetop Adventure (outdoor)
Magiquest & Shadowquest
|Rock Climbing||No||No||Yes (Indoor)|
|Escape Room||No||Wrath of Anubis||Yes|
|Bumper Cars||No||No||Krazy Karts|
|Gem Mining||Oliver’s Mining||No||Camelback Mining|
|Bungee Jumping||No||No||Euro Bungee|
Sample Room Pricing @ The Resorts
2020 Pricing 2 Adults 3 Children
|Sample Pricing||Wednesday 1/29/2020||Friday |
|GWL (Kid’s Cabin)||$249||$449||$750|
|Kalahari (Desert suite)||$316||$425||$785|
|Aquatopia (Dbl Queen Suite)||$238||$511||$805|
UPDATE: 2021 Pricing 2 Adults 4 Children
|Sample Pricing||Wednesday |
| Wednesday |
All Fees & Taxes
|GWL (Standard Wolf Den Suite)||$549.99||$632.18|
|Kalahari (Standard Room: Double Queen Sofa)||$361.00||$437.08|
|Aquatopia (Dbl Queen Suite w/ Balcony)||$319.00||$390.10 + $25 for parking = $415.10|
Parking & Resort Fees
|Resort||Parking Fee||Resort Fee|
|Aquatopia||$25/night (self-park) |
$40/night valet parking
|Kalahari||No parking fee /|
Included in resort fee
|Great Wolf Lodge||No parking fee /|
Included in resort fee
From the pricing you see above – you can understand why we usually opt for the kids to miss a day of school when we head over to one of Poconos water parks! Not only are the room prices significantly cheaper during the week for all 3 waterparks – but the resorts are a lot less crowded as well!
Camelback’s Aquatopia had the greatest variation in price for a room – being slightly cheaper during the week AND the most expensive on the weekend. Great Wolf Lodge was nearly as inexpensive during the week as Aquatopia ($249 vs $238), and the cheapest on Saturday night. Kalahari was the cheapest on Friday evening – but the most expensive during the week & the second most expensive on Saturday evening.
Camelback’s Aquatopia also had the highest resort fee and the prices quoted on the website do not include the $25/night parking fee. So please be aware of this fact when considering the total cost of the resort.
|Aquatopia||Forfeit $100 if cancellation is at least 3 days prior to your arrival|
Forfeit the cost of one night is cancellation is within 3 days of arrival.
|Great Wolf Lodge||Generally – $50 if canceled 8 or more days before arrival. |
$100 if canceled 3-7 days prior to arrival.
First night’s deposit if cancellation is made less than 3 days prior to arrival. See details HERE. (under Booking Policy)
|Kalahari||$25 if more than 3 days prior to arrival. |
If less than 3 days before arrival one night’s deposit.
To read more about our experiences at these water parks and our evaluation of each – please check out these other posts:
I hope you found this helpful!